Seven things we learned from England's 1-0 win over Slovakia

Published 4 Comments

England began their 2018 World Cup qualification campaign with a fortuitous 1-0 win against Slovakia in Trnava.

Sam Allardyce just about managed to secure all three points in his first match in charge, although the overall positive is that his team were the better side over the course of the 90 minutes. It wasn’t a completely terrible performance.

Raheem Sterling went closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half - firing agonisingly wide from inside the penalty area - while Adam Lallana hit the post in the second. Theo Walcott also had a goal disallowed in the final minutes before Lallana tucked home a scrappy winner in the dying seconds.


Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Sign up now and submit a 250-word test article:

Article continues below

England huffed and puffed and will be mightily relieved that they managed to seal the win - particularly as they had a man advantage for over half-an-hour following Martin Skrtel’s idiotic red card.

Scroll down to see the seven things we learned from this match.

Article continues below

It’s too early to judge Sam Allardyce

Okay, so it wasn’t a vintage performance by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s ridiculous to judge Allardyce on his first 90 minutes as England manager.

The vastly-experienced 61-year-old has only had days - literally - to work with the current squad and although his team selection could have been better, it’s going to take time for his ideas and methods to filter through to the players.

Slovakia v England: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Allardyce has received his fair share of stick - most of it tongue-in-cheek - but quite why fans expected a dramatic improvement in England’s performance from the European Championships is a mystery.

Rooney is playing far too deep

Wayne Rooney became England’s most-capped outfield player today but this wasn’t an individual display that anyone will remember.

By announcing that he’ll be retiring from international football after the 2018 World Cup finals, the Manchester United captain has effectively guaranteed himself a place in Sam Allardyce’s side over the next two years.

Slovakia v England: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

But if he is to keep his place in Allardyce’s starting line-up, he’ll need to perform a damn sight better than this.

The biggest problem was that Rooney was playing far too deep. Take a look at his touch map from the first 45 minutes.

England’s all-time record goalscorer was effectively playing as a deep-lying playmaker and, as Jose Mourinho stated in his first United press conference, the 30-year-old just isn’t a midfielder.

Dele Alli should be starting

Dele Alli has looked a little short on fitness during the opening weeks of the 2016-17 campaign, so you can understand why Allardyce opted to start the Tottenham midfielder on the bench.

However, England instantly looked a better team after the 20-year-old replaced Jordan Henderson with just under half-hour remaining in the match.

Slovakia v England: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Alli has often performed well for the Three Lions - remember his excellent performance against Germany in Berlin back in March? - and seeing him sat on the bench for the opening hour just seemed like a complete waste.

Harry Kane desperately needs a goal

Harry Kane started last season very slowly - leading the Tottenham striker’s critics to declare that he was, indeed, a one-season wonder - and it’s been the same story this term.

The 23-year-old, you feel, will rediscover his form and confidence again once that first goal goes in.

But his performances must improve if he’s to keep his place in Allardyce’s starting line-up for the next two World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia in October.

England are still hard work to watch

It doesn’t matter who the top man in the dugout is, watching England often feels more like a chore than a pleasure.

Can Big Sam change that?

As previously stated, it’ll take time and even then there’s no grantee that England will become a more enjoyable team to watch.

Marcus Rashford should have been in this squad

Allardyce told reporters that Rashford wasn’t picked for the England senior side because he’s not getting minutes at United, but if that was the case then why was Joe Hart starting?


England needed a goal in the second half and Rashford, who scored the winner for the Red Devils against Hull City last weekend, would have been the ideal player to throw on for the final 10, 15 minutes.

Liverpool are better off without Martin Skrtel

Martin Skrtel is 31 years old - you’d think he’d know better by now.

The centre-back was shown a yellow card for an elbow on Harry Kane and then picked up a second booking for a cynical stamp on the same player in the second half.

Slovakia v England: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Liverpool fans must be relieved that he’s now with Fenerbahce.

Is Sam Allardyce the right man for England? Have your say by leaving a comment below.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE:

Wayne Rooney
England Football
Daniel Sturridge
Sam Allardyce

Article Comments

Report author of article

Please let us know if you believe this article is in violation of our editorial policy, please only report articles for one of the following reasons.

Report author


This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Want more content like this?

Like our GiveMeSport Facebook Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to Facebook, don't ask me again

Follow GiveMeSport on Twitter and you will get this directly to you.

Already Following, don't ask me again

Like our GiveMeSport Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to G+, don't ask me again